What does Labour think?

June 3, 2014

On the face of it a tax to discourage something that isn’t wanted is okay.

It works for tobacco.

Perhaps that’s why the Taxpayers’ Union uncharacteristically is welcoming a new tax.

. . . “For us the key questions are whether the Green Party’s policy will result in a simpler, more transparent tax system and whether it will reduce New Zealand’s overall tax burden. From what we’ve seen to date, it appears the proposals could do both.” . . .

The Green part doesn’t want to reduce the overall tax burden.

It wants to add a capital gains tax without any compensating reduction in other taxes and it’s planning other taxes including charges on water.

But the most important question about this policy is what does Labour think?

. . . For the policy to be implemented it would have to be accepted by the Labour Party as part of a coalition deal, and there would have to be a change of government.

Labour isn’t commenting – which usually means it doesn’t agree with what the Greens want.

The tax would impose higher costs on households than any compensatory reduction in other taxes and that would hit the poorest people hardest.

A carbon tax was one of the big factors which sank Julia Gillard’s Labor government in Australia, Labour here will take that into account before it decides whether or not to support the policy here.


Someone has to pay the bill

May 14, 2014

I tuned to talkback on my way home from Dunedin on Monday night and heard a man explaining to Kerre McIvor that everything went wrong in New Zealand when Roger Douglas was Finance Minister.

He was wrongly criticising the cure rather than the cause.

Roger Douglas’s recipe wasn’t perfect but radical change was necessary because of the parlous state our economy was in owing to too many years of living beyond our means.

No doubt Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey will be similarly criticised for the tough medicine he delivered in his first Budget last night.

Critics will forget he was handed a sick economy and it was the high spending and high taxing prescription of the Labor governments before him which did the damage.

Now Hockey’s had to present the bill which all Australia has to pay just as we’ve been paying the bill for the over taxing and over spending that Labour-led governments indulged in through the noughties here.

How many others feel that way?

April 24, 2014

Shane Jones said he would have refused to work with the Greens in government:

Mr Jones has gone blue – National Party blue, off to work for the Government, revealing his hatred for Labour’s Green allies is so deep that he could never have worked in a Labour-Green coalition government, which would likely have co-leader Russel Norman as deputy Prime Minister.
“I would not have been able to work under Russel Norman as Deputy Prime Minister,” he says.
“I’m totally disinterested in a political career where there may have been a dim prospect that he would be my chief. It would be a long day in hell before that happens.” . . .
How many others in the Labour caucus feel that way and who could blame them? But the weaker Labour is the more bargaining power the Greens will have.

Mr Jones says going Green is wrecking Labour.

“I’ve never ever subscribed to the notion that the only way Labour would be strong is by ‘greening’ itself, so we are some sort of version of the Tasmanian Green Party. I never agreed with that.”

Back to Jones.

Mr Jones says Labour would never elect him leader, that Labour has gone too left and left him.

“The test over whether brand Labour is a broad church will rest in the breath of the September vote. Lose no sleep over doubting whether that is the truth.”

So it’s goodbye to the man they call Jonesy and haere ra to Mr Jones. He crusies off into the Pacific, but his parting shot could not be clearer.

The once broad church that housed people like him is becoming so increasingly narrow that it risks being punished in the polls.

It is still a long time until election day in which time a lot could change.
But once more the media is focussing on disarray within Labour which will not endear it to voters.

More instability on left

November 27, 2013

A majority of Labour’s caucus didn’t give David Cunliffe their first preferences in the leadership vote.

The difference in views on mineral exploration isn’t the only one in the party and now there’s another sign of instability on the left:

Green Party member David Hay is challenging Russel Norman for the co-leadership of the party.

Mr Hay, 52, ran as the Green Party candidate for Epsom in the 2011 general election and is currently ranked number 16 on the party list.

While he thinks Dr Norman has been doing a “great job”, Mr Hay says he wants to put the current leadership team “to the test”.

“At this stage, I’m testing to see whether there is support within the party for change,” he said. . . 

“I want to put Russel’s leadership to the test: if he wins out, then he will lead the party into government with a renewed mandate.

Not necessarily, recent history of the Labour party here and Labor in Australia shows winning the leadership isn’t necessarily the end of dissent.

. . . Green Party leadership positions are decided by a vote of the delegates at the Annual General Meeting.

This will be held on Queens Birthday weekend in Wellington next year.

Hay’s chances of winning the challenge aren’t great when he’s not even in parliament, although Norman became co-leader before he was an MP.
But the challenge does raise a question over the leadership.
That question will be there for the next six months and the media will take a greater interest in the party’s internal machinations than it has in the past, if only to establish if Hay is a lone voice.
The Green Party prides itself on its internal democracy and it has also maintained a pretty united front in public until now.
This is the first crack in that facade, albeit a very small one.
But if there’s one more could follow and if there’s one thing the public don’t like it’s a party which is fighting fires its members have lit in their own nest rather than concentrating on what really matters for the country.


Open for business

September 8, 2013

The question wasn’t if the Liberal National Coalition would win but by how much, and it is a decisive victory:

TONY Abbott has declared the nation “open for business” once again, vowing to lead a competent and trustworthy government for all Australians.

Claiming election victory in Sydney, he said he was proud and humbled as he shouldered the responsibility of government. . .

The incoming Abbott government is likely to have at around 90 seats and Labor at least 55, on the back of a 3.6 per cent national swing against the ALP. 

The Greens retained Melbourne, independent Bob Katter held his Queensland seat of Kennedy and Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie hung on to Denison

However, 27 seats remained “close” as the Australian Electoral Commission continued counting and two were too difficult to call at all. . .

Being open for business is necessary for Australia and will be good for New Zealand.

It doesn’t mean business at the expensive of people or the environment, but it does mean a change from the policies that have wasted the opportunities from the mineral boom, created a two-speed economy and let Australia’s international competitiveness slip.

As our  Prime Minister John Key said in congratulating Tony Abbott:

“Australia is our most important relationship.  Our common interests span trade, economic, defence and security matters and we cooperate closely in our region and on the international stage. . . “

In spite of the, usually, good-natured Trans Tasman rivalry our common interests are best served by both countries prospering.

We have been going forward but the gap between us has widened more because they’ve been in reverse.

Being better than Australia because its going backwards isn’t good for either of us.



Exit polls indicate Liberals’ landslide win

September 7, 2013

A Sky News exit poll points to a landslide win for the Liberal Coalition.

Exit polls, like any others, can and do differ from the final vote count but it would be a very foolish gambler who put any money on a Labor win tonight.

Labour like Labor

August 31, 2013

Kevin Rudd’s opinion of himself as Labor’s, and Australia’s, great hope is not shared by voters.

With just a week to go until election day in Australia, Labor is almost certainly heading for a landslide defeat.

Sydney Morning Herald columnist Gay Alcorn writes:

. . . I have been around too long to predict election outcomes, but it is looking as though September 7 will be a day of reckoning for a party that has come close to destroying itself. Labor seems so hollowed out that perhaps it had no choice but to grasp onto an American-style campaign centred around one man, Kevin Rudd, the man who more than any other contributed to the party’s predicament.

Perhaps Rudd’s elevation will mean that Labor will avoid the ”catastrophic defeat” it faced under Gillard, and it will console itself with that. But there is so much heaviness in Labor’s campaign, weighed down as it is by bad memories and bad blood. . .

Put a u in Labor, change the leader’s name and this could have been written about the Labour Party here.

It too is hollowed out, weighed down by bad memories and bad blood.

It will have a new leader in a couple of weeks but it won’t have a new culture.

Hat tip: Keeping Stock

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